Showing posts with label deleted files. Show all posts
Showing posts with label deleted files. Show all posts

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Somerset County Officials Still Searching For Answers To Deleted Computer Files

PRINCESS ANNE -- Somerset County officials are asking for outside help in their investigation into how computer files from the State's Attorney's Office were deleted.

County Commissioners made the announcement Wednesday, the day after they held a closed-door meeting with their attorney, Kirk Simpkins.

"After preliminary review, the ... County Commissioners has agreed to seek guidance from outside counsel on whether adequate evidence is present to proceed with an investigation," County Administrator Cindy Ward wrote in an e-mail.

Ward said help was being sought "outside the county," but would not comment on whether it would come from public or private sectors.

Although the problem with the computers was discovered Jan. 3, County Commissioners were at a Maryland Association of Counties meeting last week and did not have time to discuss the case or meet with their attorney until this week.

Staff members realized files had been deleted from office computers the same day new State's Attorney Dan Powell and his assistant prosecutors were sworn in.

The county's two computer system specialists ran a program to recover the deleted files, but Powell said this week that some of the recovered files were in binary code, making them unreadable.

Most of them were forms used by the office, of which Powell said he was able to get copies e-mailed to him from another county.

The files had not been deleted as of late Dec. 30 when the office closed for the New Year's holiday weekend.

Part of the investigation has included looking into who logged on to the office computers during the weekend.

None of the current employees in the office logged on during that time, Powell said.

The Sheriff's Office also reviewed courthouse surveillance tapes from the same time period.

Powell -- who previously served as an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore, Somerset and Dorchester counties -- beat incumbent Kristy Hickman in the Nov. 2 election.

Hickman is now working in the Dorchester County State's Attorney's Office.

Karen Dean, the former deputy state's attorney, recently resigned to accept a similar post in Wicomico County, and Joe Riley, an assistant state's attorney, was fired by Powell the week before Christmas.

Riley said last week that he has been in Anne Arundel County since then.

This week, he started a new job in the Caroline County State's Attorney's Office.